Pool safety expert says children should never swim alone

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say drowning is the second leading cause of death for children age one to 14 and is 14 times more likely to kill a child age four and under than an automobile accident.

That's why pool expert Stephan Lampman says parental presence is important.

"You should never allow children, really any age, to be swimming by themselves. They can get in the pool, but there should be a parent somewhere close by the pool that they can see and observe what's going on," he said. "It's just one of those things that parents have to be totally aware of - that children, when they see water, it doesn't make any difference if it's an above ground pool or an in-ground pool, they're going to do everything they can to get in that pool."

Lampman says these dangers can be increased at large gatherings such as pool parties that create chaotic poolside situations and cause people to lose track of their children.

"You'll have 10 adults and 20 children and the adults are doing things which adults do - drinking and eating and that's pretty much what's on their mind and they don't bother, I'm sorry to say, they're not looking around to see what their children are doing, they're being entertained and therefore you have created a problem with your children," Lampman said.

He says there are some things that homeowners can install to try and prevent these accidents.

Pool alarms and fences are two common remedies, but in Lubbock he says the constant wind renders the pool alarms useless.

They're activated based on movement in the water and eventually homeowners turn them off because they won't stop sounding. Lampman says fences are very effective but the cost can be a major hurdle.

"I think most of the time you're going to find that the expense is what's keeping people from doing it. You can buy cheap fences for $500 bucks but those cheap fences will fall over if a child leans against it. If you get one that's a couple thousand dollars it will be there for 20 years or more, but that's a lot of money," he said.

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